Los Angeles in July, heading to Dodger’s Stadium to see the Dodgers play Cincinnati. In the cab, on the Metro, even the guy who gave me directions downtown as I dodged the cops slapping cuffs on ladies as I tried to find my nieces’ hostel to take her to the game – they all told me the same thing: ‘you gotta try a Dodger Dog’.
The game was a sell out. Magic Johnson, helped by the purchase of a Cuban named Puig, and the arm of #22 Clayton Kershaw, had given LA ‘the Dodgers pride’. Cars crawled into the car park and offers to buy our tickets came with every few footsteps that my niece and I took from the bus stop to the stadium’s entrance.
‘You going to get a Dodger Dog?’ I asked my niece. While buying Lasorda’s #2 t-shirt at the store on arrival so I’d fit in at the stadium.
‘I’m vegetarian at the moment’
‘Not sure there’s much in the way of meat in a hot dog’.
We headed down to the hot dog stand. I was expecting something American, a foot long stuffed with racoon and coyote roadkill.
‘A Dodger Dog and a sprite, please’.
The lady handed me this 6-inch foil wrapped minnow.
‘I thought it would be bigger’, I said.
After adding the mustard and ketchup we headed down to our infield seats.
The stadium is out of this world, high terraces up with the gods and bench seats down by the field where you can load up the food. The fans were also totally whacked, never have I seen so many tattooed heads. A few people had warned me that you got to be careful what section you sit in, just like LA, there’s parts where you got to look like you belong.
I took my first bite of the Dodger Dog. It was like my life had suddenly started afresh. I drifted off into a whole constellation of flavor. You don’t so much eat a Dodger Dog, it’s more like a sun as it gets sucked into a black hole, you think, ‘shit, there’s some amazing things going down in the universe’. You enter the cone of silence. A city of angels lands on your tongue and does this sort of hula thing. Never have I consumed anything that stretches the fabric of time to make these five minutes three months. Maybe it’s like the light people see before they die.
I look up and see Bryan Cranston, Walter White from Breaking Bad and even though we don’t talk, and he doesn’t know who I am, or why I might be writing about him in the context of Dodger Dogs, I can see he’s thinking the same thing as me: you can have your fancy A-list restaurants, and red carpets, I just want a Dodger Dog at Dodger’s stadium on a fine late July evening. Then he sticks his finger in his friend’s ear because he’s on the big screen.
And, you gotta try a Dodger Dog.